Chinese village kids dream of Olympic weightliftingApril 19th, 2011 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, April 19 (IANS) In an age when most teenagers in China spend their spare time playing football or ping-pong, a group of village school kids have chosen weightlifting as their daily exercise in a bid to make it to the Olympic team.
Xuba in east China’s Anhui province is a small village far from the crowd, and people need to take a bus and then a ferry to get out of there. A total of 12 boys and 10 girls aged between 11 and 14 are currently undergoing training in the school.
On the wall of the training room, there are pictures of Olympic champions Long Qingquan and Zhang Xiangxiang.
Wang Shouwen, the coach of the team, was once the provincial weightlifting champion of Anhui province. He went back to his hometown, Xuba village, and set up the child team in 2009, which he named “Little and Little Weightlifting Team”.
“Although we don’t have much time for training, the children take the training very seriously and have made a lot of progress,” Wang told Xinhua.
Every morning, the members of the child team arrive at school 40 minutes earlier than their classmates and do exercises such as running and jumping over a rope. After school, they take part in weightlifting practice.
Fourteen-year-old Huang Rui has been in the child team for more than two and a half years. When asked whether the training was hard for him, Huang said: “I like this sport because when I make a snatch or a jerk I feel fulfilled.”
Huang’s dream is to participate in the Olympic Games as a lifter and win a gold medal.
Though he looks thin, he can lift over 60 kg.
“I want to try heavier weight but my coach seldom lets me do that. He insists I should strengthen the basic skills first,” he said.
Wang said he mainly focusses on cultivating the children’s interest on weightlifting, improving their physical fitness and enhancing their physical coordination and flexibility.
“In my team, the children will not be allowed to lift the heavy barbell until I think they are ready. Usually, it will take two years for them to enhance body quality. They now use bamboo poles instead of barbells,” said Wang.
Though the Chinese weightlifting team won eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, there is a crisis of talent shortage.
A nationwide research has revealed that the training of future lifters in the county level was getting weak, said Ma Wenguang, chairman of the Chinese Weightlifting Association.
Ma has visited Xuba and spoken to the child weightlifting team.
“Under the crisis, the child weightlifting team is worth promoting,” said Ma.
“Every child in my team has an Olympic dream,” said Wang. “My dream is to help them realise their dream.”
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Tags: anhui province, barbell, chinese village, classmates, east china, lifter, olympic champions, olympic games, olympic team, olympic weightlifting, physical coordination, physical fitness, ping pong, rui, school kids, two and a half years, village kids, weightlifting team, xiangxiang, xinhua